The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday has approved the grant of 150 million dollars to procure the coronavirus vaccine, Radio Pakistan reported.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister's Special Assistant on National Health Dr Faisal Sultan along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz.
According to sources, the Cabinet green-signaled a recommendation to vaccinate health workers and people over 65 years of age in the first phase.
The coronavirus vaccine is being prepared by CanSinoBio and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology China as multiple Western pharmaceutical companies issued a string of positive vaccine announcements this month.
Following the announcement, scores of volunteers from across Pakistan flocked to research hospitals over the past few days to join the final-stage clinical trials of a Chinese-made vaccine for coronavirus — marking the first time the country has participated in such a trial.
Earlier in the day, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar had said that the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) had finalised recommendations for the procurement of the coronavirus vaccines.
In addition, the meeting also discussed a range of other issues including Steel Mills' development projects, laws for castration of rapists, and others.
As per sources, the approval to privatise the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) — which sacked more than 4,500 employees last week — and golden handshakes to the employees of the state-owned steel and heavy metal producer was also given during the Cabinet meeting earlier today.
The Cabinet members agreed on the timely completion of the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority, Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project in Lahore, as well as the Bundle Island — which, along with Buddu Island, is located along Karachi's coast and was acquired by the federal government.
All three projects guaranteed Pakistan's development and prosperity, the federal cabinet opined.
The sources also said Pakistan's political, economic, and coronavirus situation was also discussed during the Cabinet meeting, wherein several items on the agenda were approved.
Moreover, PM Imran Khan sought a briefing on gas shortages and prices at the next Cabinet meeting.
Commenting on Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)'s recent public rally in Multan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz urged the opposition not to play with the lives of people for its personal gains as the second wave of coronavirus is at its peak in the country.
He said public rallies are banned to protect people from the Coronavirus and we will deal with the violators legally instead of putting hard restrictions.
The Minister said in today's meeting, the cabinet was apprised of the latest development of the Ravi and Bundal Island projects. It was informed that investors have expressed their full satisfaction with the steps taken for the development of the construction sector by Prime Minister Imran Khan, therefore, they are willing to invest in these megaprojects.
He said the forum was informed that these projects are planned to keep the environment clean and attract foreign investment.
The lawmakers during the cabinet meeting also approved the immediate implementation of the castration law for rapists and paedophiles, the sources said, adding that the matter was brought under discussion once again.
Members of the Cabinet concurred that there was no need to seek the opinion or willingness of international organisations for the punishment of castration sexual abusers.
Those accused of abusing children and women did not deserve any leniency, they opined.
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